Erasmus+ youth exchange “Let’s Turn Discrimination into Tolerance!” took place in Kaunas from the 6th to 14th of September of this year. 36 participants from Lithuania, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Romania and Turkey were involved in a variety of non-formal education activities and discussions.
The exchange aimed to find and analyse persisting cases of discrimination against various minorities, good practices in order to reduce it, as well as strategies, which could help increase tolerance toward minorities in the participant countries and beyond. This was done through (1) group exercises, games, quizzes, simulation activities and interactive workshops on different types of discrimination; (2) country presentations on discrimination cases persisting in Europe; (3) various art-related activities (poster, photo-wall making, theatrical plays, etc.); (4) team sports and outdoor activities; (5) special video afternoons; (6) public activities (video shooting in the city centre), and many more.
We have been also visited by a number of guests, as well as visited Kaunas Cultural Centre of Various Nations and the museum of the 9th fortress ourselves. Representatives of Lithuanian Gay League (LGL), Lithuanian Jewish, Armenian and Azerbaijani communities have shared their experience and involved all the participants to active discussions on the topic of discrimination. Thanks to their amazing presentations and resulting discussions, a lot has been learned about the situation of these minorities in Lithuania and elsewhere in the world.
The project venue was Domus Pacis Guest house, which is located in one of the oldest monasteries in Kaunas. Such setting made discussion about religious or sexual minorities especially interesting. However, our hosts have shown great tolerance both to the participants and the activities of the project.
Every evening each of the participating countries had their cultural evenings. During these the presenting team would show their country’s traditions, culture, music, dances as well as cuisine. It has helped everyone to develop much bigger mutual understanding and get the so needed cultural exchange. Not to mention, that the participants had a great deal of fun during these evenings.
The project has finished with a party in a special trolleybus and an awards night. Teams and individual participants were awarded for their positivity, cooperation, fun and more. Summing up the project activities, the exchange was a great success in terms of both experience gained and information learned, as well as satisfaction of the participants. This can be perfectly seen from the testimonials that the participants have left, e.g. “I loved this project!”; “Great organizers, accommodation, food and the rest!”; “Guest speakers were perfect”; „I‘ve learned so much about discrimination!! This was an amazing exchange!“.
However, “Let’s Turn discrimination into Tolerance!” still continues. Various videos and other material produced by the project’s participants to promote tolerance will be continuously posted on a specially created website: http://tolerant-youth.org, social media (www.fb.com/activeyouthlt), press and youth organisation websites. The material shared has already gathered a lot of attention, reached more than 10,000 young people, and will continue to make the youth across Europe more tolerant! Eventually, we will also publish an e-booklet outlined during the project, which will include some of the best solutions to persisting discrimination across Europe.
Special thanks for making the project happen goes to: Erasmus+ programme, Domus Pacis guest house, all the participants, guests, LGL, Kaunas Cultural Centre of Various Nations and all the others involved! Let’s turn discrimination into tolerance all together! #tolerantyouth